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7 Easy Steps to A Cancer Medical Binder.

A few weeks ago at the emergency room, I saw a frazzled woman hand the nurse an overstuffed bag of medicine. 

As the nurse was trying to go through the medications one by one, the bottles were dropping off the mobile computer and rolling around on the floor. You could tell by the pink flush of the woman’s face how embarrassed she was.

The absolute last thing that woman needed at that moment as she stood there panicked and mortified watching the run away bottles roll accross the floor was more stress.

What if I told you there’s an easier and less embarrassing way to get that information to your medical team? 

Plus, it’s cheap, easy and you can put it together in under an hour.  

With a tiny bit of preparation you’ll have everything you need for every single doctor’s appointment or emergency room visit already organized and easy to update.

What’s this amazing secret you ask? A medical binder.  

Three ring binder open with colorful dividers-  text overlay says 7 Easy Steps to a Cancer Medical Binder.

This is an absolute “must have” if you’re are dealing with a diagnosis of cancer.  It’s the only way to deal with the insane amount of information that’s about to get tossed your way.

You can start right now with these cancer medical binder printables that make dealing with overwhelming information a snap…

I would love to take credit for this brilliance, but my friend Allison told me about this at the beginning of our journey… and it was a game-changer!

Here’s the deal…

You’re entering a whole new world.  Seriously.  

  • There are going to be multiple appointments.
  • Several new doctors.
  • And a TON of overwhelming information flying at you from every direction.

No matter how good you are, or how organized you are… you’ll miss things.

There’s way too much for anyone to manage.

Before You Get Started

DIY cancer medical binder

A few quick tips to make your binder efficient…

  • Don’t try to fit all of this stuff into a 1-inch binder.  It’s not gonna work and if you manage to fit it all, you’ll be upgrading really soon.  Start with at least a 2-inch binder.
  • Use a pencil (or these colorful and erasable FriXon pens, which are amazing) for the pages so you can make changes without making a mess.
  • Keep a pencil case in the front of the binder to hold pens, pencils, highlighters…  You can also keep business cards in there.  ?
  • If you want you can “pimp this binder out” with pretty dividers and an awesome cover.  Our cover is a homemade sign that says, “This family is kicking cancer’s ass!”

A cancer binder gives you the space to keep all of the medical information you need in one place.  So, when you’re looking for something today, or months later (when you’re trying to recall a treatment date or a medication change), you know exactly where to go.

The sections of the binder should be based on your personal needs…but here are a few you’ll definitely want to have…

Hint:  We have created FREE cancer medical binder printables for each of the sections below, you can grab them here…

1. Keep a Timeline

cancer medical binder printables- calendar page

 A timeline is just an outline of what’s happening on the journey.

  • New symptoms popping up?  
  • Starting a new treatment or medicine? 
  • Blood levels are off this week?

You’re going to want to keep everything straight.  And find it later, because those questions get asked all the time.

  • When did you finish chemo?  
  • Date you started radiation? 
  • When did the nausea start, stop, get better, get worse… 

For us, we had symptoms, crazy symptoms popping up all over the place So we keep a calendar in the front of the binder and we document EVERYTHING on it:

  • New appointments
  • Hospital visits
  • New symptoms
  • Sick days
  • Starting a new medicine
  • Starting a new treatment
  • Scans 
  • Scan results 

There is so much happening all the time.  And, you don’t always know what’s a big deal or what’s even related to the cancer.  Having it all mapped out means you have the “data” the doctors LOVE to analyze before they make desicions. 

The more you have written down, the better you will be able to manage it all.

2. Medication List

cancer medical binder printables-medication and allergy list

 A complete and updated medication list is a non-negotiable.  You need to have that information available quickly and easily.  EVERY TIME you go to the Dr. it’s the first question they ask, “do you have any changes to your medications?

Your life will be much easier if you keep that information updated and in one place. 

You can write it on a plain piece of paper…  Or, you can grab these cancer medical binder printables for FREE…

Make sure you include the name of the medication, why you take it, the dosage, and the times it needs to be taken.

Here’s an example:  

 

Pradaxa

150 mg blood thinner Take one tablet in the morning and one tablet in the evening.

3. Prior Medical History

Anything and everything having to do with prior medical history should be compiled on an easy to read document.  

Do you have a history of Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, or even high blood pressure?  Include any past or current diagnoses, past surgeries, etc. 

 All of this information needs to be kept as up to date as possible as things are happening.

Most of the time cancer is not you’re only concern and other health issues need to be managed as well.  It’s imperative that the Dr’s are able to factor everything in when making treatment decisions.

You’ll be asked these questions over and over and it’s much easier when you have it all together.

4. Doctor/Insurance Information

cancer medical binder printables-care team

Names, phone numbers, fax numbers, and physical addresses of your treatment team and insurance company.  

    • Who is in charge of what?  
    • Who should you contact if you have a problem or a question that can’t wait?  
  • How can you quickly get a hold of the people who can help you?   

Most importantly, if another Dr. needs to share information with your Oncologist, you’ll need that number.

5. Healthcare Proxy & Living Will

Health Care Proxy

This experience makes you see and think about things very differentlyHealth Care Proxy documents should be on-file for everyone.  Even you.

  • What do you want to be done when the unthinkable happens?  
  • What are your wishes?
  • Who should make medical decisions if you can’t?

My husband and I now have a will, a healthcare proxy, and living wills all drawn up and filed.

Hey, you never know.  We want things to be easy for the kids if something terrible happens to us.

6. Notes

Cancer Binder Pack-phone call log

You need a space with a notebook or lined paper so you can take notes during Dr. visits.  There is a ton of information coming out of these appointments and you don’t want to miss anything…

They talk about…

  • Supplements or strategies that might make you feel better?  
  • Referrals to a specialist who can help?  
  • Directions you need to follow or questions you want to ask?

Anything that you want to remember can be written here.

It’s easy to get distracted and overwhelmed during appointments, especially if you’re constantly preparing for bad news…

But this is your opportunity to get the information you need.  This way you’ll be able to write down important information or questions you want to ask.

7. Additional Categories

There are tons of other categories you can include in your cancer binder…

  • Lab reports
  • Hospital discharge papers
  • Emergency Info
  • Treatment 
  • Side effects
  • Insurance Information

The list is endless, but the categories above will give you a solid foundation as you figure out what you need.

Bonus: We have created all of the cancer medical binder printables above for you, so you have everything you need to get this binder started.  You can get them here for free…

Trust me when I say, this binder is going to save you a huge amount of hassle.  Trying to keep everything straight is a huge part of this battle… 

Just one hour of set up and you’re ready to roll.

And, as a bonus medical staff LOVE this.  They will think you’re super organized and on top of everything!  (Which is awesome if you’re like us and started out as a hot mess). 

It’s easy to get started… Just grab these FREE cancer medical binder printables and set them up in less than an hour.

You’re fighting a war.  

You need tools and systems that actually work to combat everything flying at you.  The cancer binder is a system that will make your life easier and help you keep dates, facts (and your sanity!) in check, and organized.

And the next time you find yourself running to emergency room in a sheer panic, you’ll have everything you need updated, organized and ready to give to the nurses. 

What’s your best tip to manage cancer?

P.S. If you’re overwhelmed by all this cancer business, we can relate!  

The Cancer Binder Pack will walk you through the quick and easy system we used to organize our medical information.  Step-by-step instructions, printable forms, and monthly calendar pages so you can ALWAYS find what you need when you need it. 

And, the best part it’s 100% FREE when you sign up for our weekly emails which are packed full of quick tips and inspiration to help you keep going through this insanely stressful situation (from someone who is living it)...

You can get the Cancer Binder Pack here…

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